Monday, December 6, 2010

Education -- your culminating thoughts.

Throughout the term, your have read the assessments of many writers regarding "what is wrong with" public K-12 education in America today. Some of these problems include over-scheduling (boredom-promotion), over-reliance on standardized testing, segregation by class and race, and the persistence of a school "track" system that produces a workforce in line with students' parents' socio-economic status. Now, I want you to think about (and then answer) this question: if a student succeeds in getting to college, however many of the above-named problems might have hampered his/her education experience up to that time, are all of those problems non-existent in the college setting?

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Let's talk about the environment . . . again

Hi students. As I've been reading through your final papers, I have been impressed with the variety of topics you've taken on. Many of you have discussed problems with American education, a few have discussed various conceptions of the American family, and a few of you have tackled issues related to the environment. I want to ask you all a question inspired by some conversations in my American Nature Writing class today. Do you think "natural resources management" is an oxymoron? Can "wilderness" places be managed? In a corporatized, industrialized society like ours, how do we perform "cost-benefit analyses" on our uses of natural places and resources (meaning, how *do* we do this and how *can* we do -- and potentially justify doing -- this)? Some deep issues to ponder as we head into the final week of classes!